FNS plays a vital role in providing supplemental nutrition assistance when disasters occur by coordinating with state, local, and voluntary organizations to: (1) provide food for shelters and other mass feeding sites, (2) distribute food packages directly to households in specific situations, (3) offer flexibility in nutrition assistance programs’ design and administration to continue providing benefits to participants in need, and (4) approve eligible states’ requests to operate a Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is not designed to be a disaster assistance program, and is, therefore, not considered a first response option for disaster survivors. WIC policies allow state agencies flexibility in program design and administration to support continuation of benefits to participants during times of natural or other disasters. WIC state agencies are encouraged to work with state and local emergency services offices, as well as FEMA, to assist participants during a disaster.
The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is committed to ensuring those impacted by a disaster or emergency have food to eat, including infants and young children. In the event of a Presidential Disaster Declaration, FNS can procure and provide an emergency supply of infant formula and food to supplement a State’s or Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) disaster feeding efforts.
USDA’s authority to provide emergency assistance for its various disaster relief programs exists under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act), Agriculture Secretary disaster designations, Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, as well as other authorizing legislation. These authorities are identified in the various USDA program descriptions.
Through the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, FNS is able to quickly offer short-term food assistance benefits to families suffering in the wake of a disaster.
USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) supplies USDA Foods to disaster relief organizations such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army for congregate feeding or househole distribution.
Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods, can be devastating to communities and require a quick response. Schools, child care centers, and summer sites that operate the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, or the Summer Food Service Program can help minimize disruptions to your family.
Nothing is more important than providing food when people find themselves suddenly, and often critically, in need following a storm, earthquake, flood or other disaster emergency. USDA makes sure that people have enough to eat.